Donald Michael Kraig 1951 – 2014

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  March 18, 2014 — 13 Comments

Author, lecturer, and magician Donald Michael Kraig died yesterday after battling an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer. Kraig was a very influential author and thinker in the realms of ritual magic(k), magical theory, and related practices. He is perhaps best known for his book Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts, which was dubbed a “modern-day classic” by Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero. Other recent works included a remembrance of author Scott Cunningham, and an occult-themed thriller novel. He was also an acquisitions editor at Llewellyn Worldwide.

Here is the official announcement from his wife, Holly Allender Kraig.

Donald Michael Kraig and Holly Allender Kraig. Photo: Elysia Gallo.

Donald Michael Kraig and Holly Allender Kraig. Photo: Elysia Gallo.

Donald Michael Kraig died on 3/17/2014.

 It is with great sadness that I announce that Donald Michael Kraig took his last breaths last night (3/17/2014) and died. He has crossed over to Summerland and is finally no longer suffering. The type of cancer he had was just too aggressive for us to do any more treatments and his body finally gave way. He did not suffer. He simply slipped away in his sleep.

 In lieu of flowers or cards, please consider donating to the fund [linked here] to help offset medical expenses and, now, funeral expenses.

 At a later date to be named, there will be a memorial service celebrating his life and what he meant to all of us.


Holly Allender Kraig

Tributes to the life of this influential magical polymath have already started to appear. All of them praising a life well lived, one that made a deep impression on all who got to meet him.

Donald Michael Kraig & Christopher Penczak

Donald Michael Kraig & Christopher Penczak

“As the author of Modern Magick, Don was one of the first to blend the traditions of “High Magick” with the sensibilities of Neopaganism. He worked to break down the walls between the two. His writing was clear, common sense, and accessible, without ever sacrificing intellectual rigor. He applied those same standards to the excellent follow-up, Modern Sex Magick. Don was fun, funny, playful, and full of life. He is one of the people truly responsible for my career as a Pagan author, encouraging me to write a book over and over. He worked with me on the sex magic section of The Way of Four Spellbook. I asked him to read the section because I respected his expertise on the subject, and he was generous with his time and input. I am going to miss him a lot. May he be born again to those who love him, and know them, and love them again.”Deborah Lipp

“It’s a sad day for modern Pagans, as we lost one of the best men in our ranks. Donald Michael Kraig passed away last night following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He inspired so many with his books like Modern Magick, and he inspired me personally in ways I’m too sad to describe right now. We love you Don and happy travels, my friend!” – Melanie Marquis

“I’m very sad right now with the passing of Donald Michael Kraig. And seems so weird to be writing about it on FB. I just heard he passed after his fight with pancreatic cancer, same as my Mother had. Don has always been incredibly kind and encouraging to me. We only saw each other once or twice a year, usually at Pantheacon, but had a good time, even if was a brief catch up in the busy hallways or a drink at one of the suites. I was a huge fan of Modern Magick, and when I first became a Llewellyn Worldwide author, someone at LL told Don that, and while he was visiting the Minneapolis office at the same time, we would not be crossing paths. He changed his travel plans so we could have a little time together talking at the office before he caught his plane. And that generosity set the tone of our relationship for years to come.”Christopher Penczak

“With great sadness I have just learned that my friend Donald Michael Kraig crossed last night after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer. Don and I have been friends since the late 1970s. He showed me great kindness over the years, and was always there with encouragement, a smile, and a really bad joke. He taught me much through simply being the good man that he was in this lifetime. I do not say goodbye, I say ‘Until we meet again, my old friend.'”Raven Grimassi

As for me, I can only reiterate what I said on learning he was battling cancer.

“Donald Michael Kraig is not only a noted author and thinker, he’s also a charming, funny, and supportive individual. When I was invited to my very first festival as a newly minted “Big Name Pagan” I was very nervous, and felt completely out of my depth. My first talk during that weekend was attended by, like, 4 people, and very few people there had heard of me. Luckily, Don was there, and was very supportive. He attended my second talk (which was better attended) and afterwards praised my performance, saying I was a natural at public speaking. Now, whether this was true is up to debate, but perhaps he helped make it true by saying it to me, reminding me that I had done the work to be invited there, and that I did have something to contribute (magick!).

Just as Don had helped me, so he has helped many other people in his life, which is as good an argument for extending his remarkable life as any (that, and the amazing stories of his rock-n-roll past). Also, to be frank, the Pagan community can’t bear to lose a wit of his caliber.”

This is a great loss for our interconnected communities in so many ways. He was a man who lifted his friends up, made his enemies look foolish, and was deeply generous with his knowledge, wisdom, and infectious sense of humor. If we truly return on this wheel again, then I hope it spins quickly and brings his spirit back to us, because the qualities he brought to us are needed now more than ever. I take solace knowing that he will be remembered, and what is remembered lives.

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Merlyn7

    This is a huge loss for the community. Modern Magick was one of the first books I read way back when and I still think of it often.

  • Roberta Ellen Smith Apple

    A sad day. Hail and Farewell. Your contributions shall live on, as will your memory in the hearts of those blessed to have known you. I was not so blessed, but have felt the influence of you contributions none the less.

  • T Thorn Coyle

    I give thanks for his life and for the power of the legacy Don left us. May the work continue. May we continue to learn. May his spirit be well.

    What is remembered, lives.

  • Jason: “If we truly return on this wheel again, then I hope it spins quickly and brings his spirit back to us, because the qualities he brought to us are needed now
    more than ever.”

    That is very beautifully put and I couldn’t agree more. His book Modern Magick is a real honest-to-Gods classic. He had a truly radiant mind which shone brightly in his writing, and will continue to shine for a long time to come.

  • Don’s “Modern Magick” was such an important book for me. One thing I enjoyed about him was that he was so accessible — Facebook, his blog on Llewellyn’s site — he loved teaching, discussing, and sharing. Blessed journey to the Light, DMK, “the Light hath healing in its wings.”

  • Lupa

    I only got to talk to him a couple of times, but he always struck me as an incredibly friendly and approachable person. I feel like the world must be a little poorer for his death.

  • Charles Cosimano

    I had little personal contact with him, but on those rare occasions that I did he struck me as man of great friendliness and warmth, about whom no truthful bad thing could be said. May he rest in peace.

  • Raksha38

    A very sad day. Pancreatic cancer is horrible and my heart goes out to his family and friends.

  • kenofken

    I never ultimately found a good fit between high magick and my pagan belief and practice, but I respect the power and elegance of the system and I consider Modern Magick to be one of my better book investments. Kraig’s body of work certainly stands in evidence against the charge that pagan publishing lacked any offerings of depth or advanced theory.

  • Holly Allender Kraig

    Thank you, Jason! That was a lovely tribute. When I see you next, I owe you much thanks and many, many hugs! Namaste, Holly Allender Kraig


    Now missing an unique voice. Thank you DMK, RIP

  • sunfell

    His books were instrumental in helping me return to my Path and practice. He will be missed.

  • Ellen Evert Hopman

    DMK was a kind and generous man. He penned an essay about Vedic history for my novel THE DRUID ISLE for which I am eternally grateful. I will miss his warmth and easy smile. May he find peace and joy in the arms of his ancestors.